Santa Clara City Council Sticks with PAL, Announces that BMX Track Will be Re-opened Next Week

By Robert Haugh

Despite the protests from numerous BMX rider families, City staff recommended that Santa Clara keep leasing the BMX track to the Santa Clara Police Activities League (PAL).

For three decades, PAL has leased the track from the City and hired a variety of operators and volunteers.

PAL learned through a recent audit that funds were unaccounted for causing them to change operators. According to testimony from Rich Gordon, a forensic auditor, about $136,000 is unaccounted for in 2021, the one year he reviewed.

The decision to change the track operators upset a lot of parents and USA BMX, an organization that sanctions official BMX races. 

USA BMX says it won’t sanction any Santa Clara events unless it operates the races or picks the operator.

Interim City Attorney James Sanchez said that would create potential legal problems for the City.

Nick Valencia, the volunteer track operator, petitioned the Council last month to agendize the issue and take the lease away from PAL.

But for the City Council to agree to change operators, it would need to terminate the PAL lease. Then, they would have to start a procurement process that will take 3-6 months to allow for competitive bids. The track and operations would be closed down during the process.

The Council voted 5-2 to note and file the Staff report, complete the audit, and urge PAL and USA BMX to work together to sanction races at the facility.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilmembers Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy, Suds Jain, Kathy Watanabe voted yes.

Councilmembers Anthony Becker and Kevin Park voted no.

According to a PAL President Mike Walke, new operators will be brought in and the track will be re-opened and in operation for 3 days a week starting May 31.

PAL will also make the following changes:

  • A larger group of volunteers to oversee operations.
  • PAL will pay all track expenses and operations.
  • PAL will hire multiple experienced operators, not just one.
  • The track will be open for licensed coaches to hold clinics.
  • PAL is open to negotiating with USA BMX for sanctioned events.
  • PAL is open to adding a BMX community member onto PAL exec board
  • A monthly budget and accounting of expenses will be presented to the PAL board.
  • PAL will open its books quarterly to the public.


  1. As a parent of two kids who love to ride, and race, BMX, this controversy has me pretty sad. I don’t know Nick Valencia, but just because a first finding states that funds were unaccounted, doesn’t necessarily mean there was foul play, just that there was definitely lousy book keeping. In a volunteer-run organization, that’s pretty normal. I would wait for a full audit before slandering someone based on a situation with limited facts available.

    In my experience, the volunteers at the track did a great job and were really kid-first in every interaction I had with them. USA BMX is not a monopoly, it’s a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that helps manage competitive BMX racing across the country. Without the ability to have regularly sanctioned races at the track, it’s nothing more than a neighborhood pump track that nobody should have to pay to ride on. Like the one at Calabazas Park. I’m not necessarily against the Board’s decision, but PAL and USA BMX have got to put the kids first and work this out, hopefully sooner than later.

  2. Had to be at CH on another issue and saw the crowds and TV. Has anyone taught these bmxers that you need to be polite? The tv reporter had to keep moving because of rudeness of BMX people.
    Please can Becker sit still and does he have Covid? Blowing his nose a bunch! Another poster noticed his oddness but biggest oddness was not having a solution just criticize PAL. But he admitted meeting PAL people with Adam Thompson. Say no more! Thompson despises PAL and the accommodations they will got in Gateway Crossings. Sorry Adam!!
    Kevin was Kevin. Shooting from all angles and no solution either. Was he eating too? Munchies much Kevin?

  3. I am really happy that Santa Clara didn’t fall for the boo-hoo poor me and my kids, you need to trust nick, nick is my savior baloney. Heard it before and seen the damage he left in his wake.

    Watching some of your council gives me concern and frankly its a miracle the track wasn’t handed over to USABMX and nick. Becker is as slimy as nick. Were they working together too? And the one on the other end obviously likes to hear himself talk. He was circling trying to land but he was hitting a lot of turbulence.

    I have read some of the stories in this column about the dysfunction. Nick probably thought he could get his takeover of the track with this council since they give everything else in your city to the 49ers. Nick got in line.

    Anyways, good work. Spreckles appreciates your diligence protecting PAL and your track. Now just get the track opened and RIDE LIKE THE WIND!

    • A.B.B. Anyone But Becker
      Becker is such a fake, what a joke.💩 Who is writing his material?? He is so embarrassing. It’s so lame it’s almost like he writes the script now and cant even follow it. Looking at his fb profile skills/ experience list CEO, tv film editor, producer, president, founder, board of directors jobs and he went to all the jr colleges is all BS. He left the dais several times lastnight most likely to hit his bong and the way he returned sniffing snot and rubbing his nose it was probably a break for a snort of cocaine also.

  4. Interesting…..nothing to do with the 49ers and we got a 5 to 2 with some of the Five.

  5. Good decision.
    PAL BMX belongs with
    Santa Clara.
    Not a monopoly
    trying to take over.
    Very shady.

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